Budget cuts: "Everything is on the Table"

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -  State leaders are moving forward with caution, as they figure out exactly how much money Virginia will have in the upcoming budget year.

While there are signs of stability - no one's prepared to say things are looking good yet. Presiding over a meeting with state leaders and private business executives - Governor Kaine said Virginia is "not out of the woods yet."

"When revenues are lower it's precisely the time when citizens need more of the assistance that government can provide," said Kaine.

Kaine said there will be more cuts, to fill an additional budget hole of $250 million dollars this year, and at least $3 billion by 2012. So how will Virginia leaders deal with that? After a closed-door meeting with his advisory council, Kaine was non-specific on what he thought Virginia could do without.

"I think that people are gonna see an awful lot in this budget that they don't like," he said.

And when asked about a possible tax increase on a population with 6.3% unemployment, the governor was also non-specific.

"Everything is on the table," Kaine said.

Whatever Governor Kaine proposes, it can be adjusted by the next governor, and ultimately, the General Assembly.

"We do not want to impose any new taxes on Virginia businesses or families," said Governor-Elect Bob McDonnell.

But with revenues still down, no one could deny a future that likely includes cuts to higher education, K-12 schools, and virtually everything else in state government.

"We keep seeing it not being good, and would make you believe it's suddenly going to be a lot better?" said Delegate Kirk Cox.

Revenues will be adjusted one more time next month. Governor Kaine will use those numbers to craft his final budget proposal in a hugely anticipated event, which takes place here on December 18. 

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.